February may be the designated month for national heart health awareness, but the conversation continues all year long. This often includes bringing awareness to cardiovascular disease. The goal behind National American Heart Month is to encourage people to live healthier and adopt lifestyle changes for the better. By taking part in heart-healthy exercises and activities, you can help prevent heart disease.
What is heart and cardiovascular disease?
Heart disease is an umbrella term that describes a broad range of disorders and conditions that affect the heart. Cardiovascular disease deals with issues surrounding blood vessels and the circulatory system, which also affects the heart. Types of heart and cardiovascular diseases include the following:
Congenital heart disease – a heart functioning problem present since birth.
Arrhythmia – an irregular heartbeat.
Coronary artery disease – cholesterol-containing plaque buildup on the arteries.
Dilated cardiomyopathy – a lack of oxygen reaches the heart muscle.
Myocardial infarction – a heart attack, cardiac infarction, and coronary thrombosis.
Congestive heart failure – when the heart doesn’t pump blood around the body efficiently.
Pulmonary stenosis – the pulmonary valve is too tight for the heart to pump blood from the right ventricle.
What causes heart and cardiovascular disease?
Heart disease is caused by plaque buildup that thickens and hardens in the arteries. This makes it difficult for blood to reach the heart, resulting in various conditions. Blood carries oxygen to the heart through the arteries.
The arteries can be damaged over time by high cholesterol because it contributes to plaque buildup. High blood pressure and cigarette smoking also cause damage to the arteries over time. The risk of heart diseases increases with age, particularly around age 55 in women and age 45 in men.
Fortunately, we can prevent heart disease with lifestyle changes. Since heart disease develops over time and typically manifests later in life, there’s an opportunity to ward off this condition early on by incorporating healthy habits.
Steps to prevent heart disease
Knowing what leads to heart and cardiovascular disease is a step towards preventing it. Maintaining a nutritious diet, proper blood pressure, healthy weight, and managing stress are key areas to focus on for lifestyle changes.
Eating more fruits and vegetables is a great starting point for a nutritious diet. Opting for high-fiber foods, lean meats, fish, and nuts and seeds creates balanced meals towards heart health.
Making time for physical activity at least three times a week can make a great difference. Taking a brisk 30-minute walk or jogging is great, as well as muscle-strengthening activities. This also helps your mind and body fight stress.
Practicing proper stress management techniques promotes heart health. Techniques like getting enough sleep and making time for hobbies that relax you are great steps to take.
Learn about health services available at Crimson Care in Tuscaloosa, AL.
Dr. Ramesh Peramsetty -- along with his entire Crimson Care team -- is committed to making medical services convenient and accessible. The clinic offers three Tuscaloosa locations: Crimson Care Skyland, Veterans Memorial, and First Care on McFarland. All locations offer extended weekday hours and one-stop treatment services, including medical care, x-rays, lab work, and prescription dispensing. Crimson Care also provides digital access through its online patient portal. Request prescription refills, complete any necessary patient forms online, review your medical records at any time, and even pay your bill. Check us out today on our website, or give us a call today at Crimson Care Veterans: (205) 507-1100, Crimson Care Skyland: (205) 507-1119, or First Care: (205) 349-2323.